Saskatoon

Saskatoon hosts vigil for those killed in Iran plane crash

Residents and dignitaries from Saskatoon attended a vigil, hosted to honour victims killed in a plane crash earlier this week. 

Vigil designed to support those who need 'safe place' in community: organizer

Saskatoon residents attended a vigil on Friday night, honouring those killed in a plane crash in Iran earlier this week. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

Residents and dignitaries from Saskatoon attended a vigil, hosted to honour victims killed in a plane crash earlier this week. 

Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 crashed earlier this week, leaving 176 passengers — 138 bound for Canada — dead. 

"I want to thank Canadian people; they're so kind, they're so nice. During this week, when I took my daughter to school, her teacher came to me. Her eyes were kind of showing how sad she was," said Nazanim Charchi, an Iranian PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan who attended the vigil.

She said the vigil in Saskatoon gave her an opportunity to share her feelings and talk about the incident with her peers.

Charchi said the whole situation has been tough for her but she feels at home in Canada and that she can share her feelings with Canadians.

Charlie Clark was one of the dignitaries from the Saskatoon area who attended a vigil on Friday night, memorializing those killed in the plane crash in Iran earlier this week. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

The toughest part of the whole situation for Charchi is how close it hits home.

"Many people in that airplane were studying at the same university as us," she said. "They were students and professors at many Canadian universities. That's the toughest part."

At least one person on the plane had a connection to Saskatoon.

Marzieh Foroutan was a PhD student in the faculty of environment at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, but her research was funded by the U of S-led Global Water Futures program. 

Organizer Amir Abolhassani said he never met Foroutan personally, but he did meet one of the couples from Edmonton who had travelled to Iran together.

Abolhassani said it didn't matter if anyone attended the vigil because they personally knew the victims — the vigil was about support.

"We did this vigil because we heard about a lot of students that are getting emotional in the university," Abolhassani said.

"We thought that, let's do this so that we can gather and show that support for each other. Give each other that safe place so that we can be with the community." 

With files from Alicia Bridges

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